With the close of December 2022 upon us, the time has come to look back at the PlayStation Plus Essential tier’s free games for the final third of the year. As before, no consideration is given for Sony offerings on the higher tiers, and this article will focus solely on the free games from the service available since the beginning of the year. With that housekeeping out of the way, let’s jump into our first month to judge today: September.
September managed to be a fairly decent month. I’ve long since lost interest in the Need for Speed series, but the most recent (at the time) entry, Heat, being made free was a welcome surprise. I watched gameplay footage during one of Lance’s streams when the game launched, and while it did put me off picking the game up myself it did look like a reasonable step up from the handful of games which preceded it in the PlayStation 4 generation.
The other games for September were Granblue Fantasy: Versus and Toem; two games I’d never heard of at the same, or since, following them being made Plus games. No further comments needed really, onwards to October. Halloween month!
Despite being the month you might expect to find a spooky title or two in, we had no such luck on that front this year. Instead, we were treated to the decent Hot Wheels Unleashed (which I reviewed when it launched in 2021) as well as Injustice 2 and Superhot.
I have no love for fighting games but have been assured Injustice 2 is a strong Plus game for those who enjoy that sort of thing. Superhot has always been a game I felt would always work best in VR, but as the Plus version of the game does not include free entry into this component of the experience I cannot include that in consideration for the quality of the month. Overall, October was pretty decent, though a much better month was right around the corner.
November’s offerings to PlayStation Plus Essential subscribers were Nioh 2, the Lego Harry Potter Collection and Heavenly Bodies. If you’re into challenging games, Lego games or puzzle games then you would have been well catered for. I don’t fall into any of these categories, but as one of the examples of me being happy other players are happy, I’m willing to give November a free pass.
I might play Lego Harry Potter at some stage but, looking at my current gaming backlog, I’m not holding my breath.
The final month of the year for Plus Essential is a serious contender for one of the service’s best ever months. The gaming juggernaut that is Mass Effect: Legendary Edition being made a Plus game really ended the year on a high, and when you consider it came with Biomutant and Divine Knockout, you really are spoilt for choice.
I haven’t got round to playing Divine Knockout quite yet, though I have downloaded it following a recommendation, which puts it above most of the PS Plus games this year. I have already played and reviewed Biomutant when the PS5 version of it launched this year. While my review wasn’t full of compliments for my experience, there is enough within the game to make me confident that if a sequel is ever made the developers at Experiment 101 have a good handle on what they need to do in order to make any follow-up better on all fronts.
That’ll do it for the rundown of Plus games for the year. Now it’s time for my favourite part of this series of articles: scoring the months!
January – 4 / 10. Best game – Deep Rock Galactic
February – 1 / 10. Best game – Planet Coaster
March – 5 / 10. Best game – Ghostrunner
April – 0 / 10. Yes, 0 is an option. Possibly the worst Plus month ever!
May – 6 / 10. Best game – Tribes of Midgard
June – 3 / 10. Best game – God of War (2018)
July – 8 / 10. Best game – Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time
August – 10 / 10. Best game – Yakuza: Like A Dragon
September – 6 / 10. Best game – Need for Speed: Heat
October – 6 / 10. Best game – Hot Wheels Unleashed
November – 7 / 10. Best game – Lego Harry Potter Collection
December – 9 / 10. Best game – Mass Effect: Legendary Edition
PlayStation Plus Essential 2022 Score – 5.4 / 10
(2021 Score – 5.7 / 10)
That’s a wrap on 2022 for Plus Essential. The service is still well worth having, if only as a way of accessing PlayStation Plus Extra, a vastly superior PlayStation service (but don’t get Premium!). Thank you for reading these during 2022 and I will be back with more opinion pieces, rankings and reviews in 2023. Happy New Year!
Written and edited by Alexx.